During this "Age of Ultron," it's full-speed ahead with all things Ultron, so it seems only appropriate that "Ultron" #1AU, written by Kathryn Immonen with art by Amilcar Pinna, dives into the world of Ultron's "son," Victor Mancha. In the post-Ultron Los Angeles, there's not much to be found, except ping-pong, Twinkies and a few refugees that Victor has gathered together.
Victor tries to carve out hope and some degree of normalcy with the small group of four other characters Immonen introduces in this issue. Driven through heavy use of narrative caption boxes, Immonen outlines Victor's struggle to find hope and perseverance to continue. This isn't a new story, but it isn't the same-old Pinocchio with strings cut android rehash comics fans have read over and over. Immonen writes Victor as someone who lives up to his name, seizing victories wherever he can, whether in scoring some Twinkies for his hungry friends or fooling one of Ultron's drones long enough to buy time for his friends to escape. In the meantime, Immonen has some fun with the post-apocalyptic world, serving up Twinkies that somehow survived not only Ultron, but the demise of their own company as well. The writer brings humor without sacrificing characters or compromising their meaningful struggles.
Despite some quirky story shifts, like Victor protecting his pal Caitlyn by sending her off running only to be right next to her in the very next panel, Amilcar Pinna's art is clean, snappy and fresh. All of the characters in this comic book appear "normal" and there are no costumes to define identities, placing the responsibility of visual cues squarely on Pinna's talent. Pinna draws great rubble and deftly moves the characters through their backgrounds, giving this story plenty of life.
The problem is, much like the main series, "Ultron" #1AU doesn't provide much in the way of action. Just as things are shaping up, the issue concludes. Sure, that conclusion is open enough to be built upon elsewhere, but for now it feels too open-ended and Victor's story is too incomplete. As his father ravages the world around him, Victor Mancha has his own microcosm rocked to the ground. There's enough here to make readers care about Victor, regardless of their prior knowledge of the character, but there really isn't enough of a payoff for the time invested in this story. I'm sure it'll cycle back into the "Age of Ultron" story, but in doing so, I think it could very well diminish the impact Immonen and Pinna would have been able to provide with a little more space. For now, I close the back cover; fairly positive I'm not going to consider this the most memorable chapter in the Ultron story.